Stoffel v. JPMorgan Chase (IN)

Summary: Filing a satisfaction of judgment following the sale of foreclosed property does not prohibit judgment creditors from presenting valid evidence rebutting claims asserted against them regarding the sale.


Go to full opinion.


Stoffel v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., 3 N.E.3d 548 (Ind. App. 2014).


Facts: JPMorgan Chase Bank (‘Chase’) filed a complaint to foreclose on its mortgage on real estate owned by Joel Stoffel (‘Stoffel’). Stoffel and Chase eventually filed an Agreed Judgment Entry and Decree of Foreclosure, in which Stoffel’s personal judgment totaled $139,907.82 plus any additional costs incurred before a sheriff’s sale of the property. Chase assigned the Agreed Judgment to the Federal National Mortgage Association (‘Fannie Mae’), and Fannie Mae submitted the winning bid of $152,121.72 during the sheriff’s sale. Fannie Mae subsequently filed its satisfaction and release of judgment with the trial court regarding Stoffel’s Agreed Judgment with Chase.

After the sheriff’s sale, Stoffel filed a motion to compel payment of an alleged surplus based on the difference between Fannie Mae’s bid of $152,121.72 and the initial $139,907.82 provided in the Agreed Judgment. Fannie Mae introduced, over Stoffel’s objections, affidavits from a Chase Bank officer and attorney, and an unsigned letter from a Rose K. Kleindl. The documents provided figures and claimed to explain how cost associated with the sheriff’s sale increased the amount Stoffel owed. The trial court found no surplus after combining the amounts listed in the affidavits and letter with the amount initially provided in the Agreed Judgment. The court subsequently denied Stoffel’s Motion to Compel Payment, and Stoffel appealed.


Holding: Affirmed in Part; Reserved in Part. On appeal, Stoffel argued that the trial court wrongly denied his motion by (1) erring in permitting Fannie Mae to present evidence to show there was no surplus despite having filed a satisfaction of judgment, and (2) erring in admitting evidence from Fannie Mae to determine the amount of the judgment.

First, the court affirmed the trial court’s rejection of Stoffel’s claim that the satisfaction of judgment barred Fannie Mae from presenting evidence indicating there was no surplus. The court held that a satisfaction of judgment barred Fannie Mae from asserting claims against Stoffel regarding amounts owed, but did not prohibit Fannie Mae from presenting admissible evidence rebutting Stoffel’s argument that a surplus existed.

Second, the court reversed the trial court’s holding on the admissibility of the affidavits from Chase and the essentially anonymous letter, deeming them inadmissible as hearsay under Ind. R. Evid. 801(c). The court held, when challenged, a judgment creditor must present evidence admissible under Indiana Rules of Evidence to show the costs included in the winning bid. The court recalculated the amount owed under the joint agreement amount by adding the costs listed in admissible evidence, and subsequently reversed the trial court’s calculation after finding a $374.58 surplus was owed to Stoffel.


Opinion Year: 
By: ATG Underwriting Department | Posted on: Tue, 08/19/2014 - 10:37am